Five Sets with Morgan Montgomery

  • By Alyssa Cantisani
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  • March 07, 2017 04:32 PM
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On being a leader on a team during a coaching change…
I think going through the coaching change was by far one of the hardest things, I think, that  G (Gianna Gotterba) and I have been through in college. For two months there was uncertainty because there wasn’t a coach here. All we had was our strength coach Beth (Byron), and I think that was kind of scary because you don’t know what’s going to come in. I think that was also scary because you come to school and you trust the coach you’re with and then they leave, so it’s kind of like where are you at now? And what is going to be the commitment to you? I think that was scary but I think it worked out for the best for us because we got a new coach who really focused on technique and really focused on getting our team better. I think it was also scary because by the time the coaching happened there were six of us left. Obviously, going from 16 people to six people is a big change, and most of our older girls had left so G and I were kind of forced into being the team leaders. At that point we were still freshman. I think it was definitely hard but it grew both of us in our leadership skills because we had to learn how to take care of other people while not really knowing what the future held.
On playing for Coach Sunahara …
It’s intense. He’s by far the most intense coach I’ve ever had. He gets on you if you’re not doing something right or if he knows you can be better. Conditioning wise, it’s a lot harder. We do a lot more to be physically in shape. We always say we can run circles around teams. You want to be able to last in those five-set matches. This year, we had five or six five-set matches, and you’re exhausted, but you can tell that we’re in a lot better shape so I think that aspect is a lot different. At the same time, he expects so much of you, but at the end of the day you know he’s got your back. I think that’s kind of nice where you have that support system, but at the same time if you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do he’s going to get on you.
On being motivation by Coach Sunahara …
He always says, “one percent better every day,” and that’s something that I’ve really taken. Even if I’m having a rough hitting day, I can always get better at passing or even if I’m not having a great passing day, I can always get better at hitting. I think that’s something in my game that he’s grown. He’s really pushed for us to be completely well-rounded players instead of all just focusing on hitting or all focusing on blocking. I think something I’ve learned from him is that, sometimes I might not always be on the court, but there is still something I can do on the bench to help out. Something he really had me do this year was help Payton (Caffrey) and Katelyn (Evans), two of our freshmen who ended up with a lot of playing time. It was hard because I went from playing a lot in my sophomore year to not playing as much.  I think I had to really learn to be that leader on the bench to help them do their best in the game, while still having to compete with them for time. 
On the lessons learned entering senior year…
I think I’ve learned that I have more of an impact off the court than I thought I would. The words that I say to Katelyn and Payton -- it really helps their game. That was something I thought I had to just lead by action, but this year I kind of found out that my words were more important and that was something that was important to me.
On the best moments so far…
I think this year, the best moment was beating TCU. It was Coach Sunahara’s second Big 12 win, and we beat our former coach and some of our former teammates.  I think that was a big moment for us. Just to show how far we’ve come from two years ago, from not winning a game in conference to winning that game and the way we did it – coming back in five sets. I think that was one of my favorite moments … it still gives me chills to think about. My sophomore year, I think beating Marshall would have been one of the highlights from that year just because, I mean, It’s Marshall. They always have the Golden Ball Trophy, and it was our first time getting the Golden Ball back. I think that was just fun and it was a new team, a brand new team, at that point because we had so many people leave. I think that was fun to kind of tip off that. Obviously that season was hard, so I think there weren’t as many highlights. At the same time, I think everyone who is still here is still growing and that’s why I’m so excited for how this year is going to go.  


WVU, West Virginia, Mountaineers, Volleyball, NCAA